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Styrene may be present in food containers, carpet, rubber, foam packaging, insulation and other products.

This petroleum by-product is used to make polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam™), plastics, rubber, and resins and can be found in packaging, drinking cups, and food containers. Unfortunately it can also put people at increased risk for cancer and other diseases.

Potential health effects include:

  • Cancer (Leukemia and Lymphoma)
  • Liver, kidneys, and spleen damage
  • Nervous system effects
  • Respiratory and eye irritation
  • Gastrointestinal effects
  • Vision and hearing loss
  • Impaired memory and concentration

Commonly found in:

  • Food containers (Styrofoam coffee cups and takeout containers)
  • Packaging foam and peanuts
  • Building and home maintenance materials
  • Fiberglass and insulation
  • Carpets
  • Craft supplies
  • Rubber
  • Plastic

Consumer tips

Avoid Styrofoam cups and containers, which are usually labeled with the number 6 recycling logo.

When shopping for groceries, select items that are unwrapped, or wrapped in non-polystyrene materials.

* Under our weak federal laws, it’s impossible for us to know all the uses of styrene in consumer products. As a result, this is not an exhaustive list of all products containing styrene.